Learning how to make good decisions is an essential life skill; not just for achieving outward success, but in order to secure a lasting sense of personal fulfilment.
One of our goals as a school is to guide our students in the skills of making good decisions and dealing with the responsibilities of poor decisions. We promote and foster core values, which are crucial to decision-making. These include qualities such as conscientiousness and persistence; and values such as integrity, tolerance of differences, fairness, justice, respect and compassion.
Life is the sum of all your choices
We know that no matter how hard we try, there are going to be times when our students are going to make decisions in circumstances where there are no responsible adults around. And sometimes these decisions can have life-changing outcomes. Often, the endorsement of their peers will be important enough to override rationality; resulting in dangerous or destructive actions.
5 Steps to Good Decision Making
- Identify the purpose of the decision. What are you trying to achieve with this decision and what goal are you moving towards?
- Gather information on your options, and bound the problem space. What are the potential paths forward? Assess your alternatives, what is off the table?
- Weigh the evidence and consider the consequences of each path forward.
- Make your decision and take action in the direction of that decision.
- Check and evaluate your decision.
Why should parents trust schools to teach their children good decision-making skills? Well as teachers, we are acknowledged “champions” of decision-making by virtue of our day-to-day professional actions.
Teachers Make Over a Thousand Decisions Each Day (and It’s Exhausting)
Teachers are the ultimate decision-makers. According to data collected by busyteacher.org, the average teacher makes 1,500 decisions per day. That’s four decisions per minute. The results aren’t hard to believe when taken into consideration that teachers are often expected to be a support system for sometimes hundreds of students, a manager of a classroom, an educator, a content creator, and so much more.
We know that sometimes students and their parents guardians may not approve of all the decisions we make. However, before you shoot off an angry email or decide to express your outrage in a phone call to the School (where the frontline person who probably had no role in the decision-making process will cop the brunt of your anger), please consider some of the parameters the School has to take into account in the decision-making process.
When It comes to making some decisions, we act under a complex and diverse legal/compliance framework. So, when we make a decision, here are a few of the areas and laws we are required to consider:
- School policy → Policies help a school establish rules and procedures in order to function effectively and ensure everyone is connected. These policies cover everything from attendance, to student discipline, to emergency procedures, to the curriculum.
- Delegated authority → Position sometimes determines who can make a decision. In order to run an organisation effectively that organisation delegates authority to different people.
- NESA → The New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA) is the state government education statutory authority with the responsibility for the establishment and monitoring of quality teaching, learning, assessment and school standards in New South Wales.
- Contract Law of School Enrolment → School enrolment contracts are a legal arrangement where the school is entering into a contract with the parents/guardians for the provision of services. This is a two-way contract that determines what is expected of both parties
- Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 → The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 is a law in New South Wales that relates to the guardianship and care of children and young people.
- Office of the Children’s Guardian → The Office of the Children’s Guardian is an independent statutory authority in the NSW Government. They promote and regulate the quality of child safe organisations.
- Duty of care → A duty of care is a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others.
- Foreseeable risk → A danger which a reasonable person should anticipate as the result from his/her actions.
- Mandatory reporting → Mandatory reporting is the legal requirement for certain professional groups to report a reasonable belief of child physical or sexual abuse to child protection authorities.
- FACS → The New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is a department of the Government of New South Wales responsible for the delivery of services to individuals, families and communities in the state of New South Wales,
- FACS, Non-government Schools → The role of non-government schools in child protection is to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people. School staff provide support that is responsive to the needs of students who are the subject of concerns about risk of harm, appropriate to staff roles. In child wellbeing matters a school may arrange for support within the school and/or refer students and their families to outside support services.
- WHS → Occupational health, or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work.
- PCBU → “Person conducting a business or undertaking” used in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations. The WHS Act places the primary duty of care and various other duties and obligations on a “person conducting a business or undertaking” a business (PCBU).
- Anti-discrimination Act (NSW) → The Act that renders it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, sex etc.
- Reasonable adjustments → Equality law recognises that achieving equality for disabled people may mean changing the way that an organisation is structured. There is a duty to make reasonable adjustments.
- Mental Health NSW →Require schools to ensure a positive, safe school environment and teach and reinforce positive behaviours and decision-making.
St Columba Anglican School